a rant

I just looked at some of the hundreds of comments on the recently closed blog TheIndieConnection. The site used to post whole albums free for the downloading of the general public via rapidshare. I don't know the whole story, but appearantly a band found out about their whole album being posted, got pretty pissed, and a whole shitstorm ensued. (If anybody knows the whole story, I'd kind of like to know.) Anyway, there was a lot of arguing about the ethics of posting whole albums for download in the music community.

I've thought this for a long time ... how is it hurting business if a lot of the people that download these albums are not listening to them that much and wouldn't even buy them in the first place. 99% of the time, if you like something enough that you listen to it consistently, you'll buy it, you'll make an effort to see the band, and you'll buy their merch. Most people don't have the kind of money to throw around that they are going to go buy the more intruiging new releases of the week without really hearing them. For the most part, artists only get a small portion of the actual cd cost and make most of their money touring. As an artist, what's the cost of having your album sit on a computer as mp3s to be sparingly listened to? At most, the album will eventually grow on the listener and they will want to support you. If people aren't going to buy music in the first place, how's business hurt by downloading? Those who only illegally download are still a minority by far. The music business as far as album purchasing is still thriving, but it's obvious the business model is changing. In a hypothetical world without non-purchase downloading, would there be a significant boost in album sales? I think it would be an insignificantly small gain, and exposure would be lost. Hype within the advertising and review domain can only go so far.

People trust their own ears above all.

I'm sorry to go political per-se for a post and forego the mp3s, but I think it's an appropriate topic, especially for those of you reading this, in this niche of music listeners and internet users. I'm neither condoning nor supporting this slippery subject. Just offering my perspective from where I sit, reading the blogs, seeing what goes on, and yes, downloading albums.

I'm up for convincing; comments welcome.


swiss said...

i agree with you a lot on this, but i still don't entirely agree on downloading/copying entire albums in some cases. sure, i wouldn't feel bad about downloading an album put out by some label like EMI, which will sell by the truckload and where the money will mostly find its way into A+R and record execs' back pockets, but taking money away from independent labels is a different matter. people get worked up about legal downloads, and i understand why - but somewhere like www.bleep.com puts out cheap mp3s of their albums where the majority of the money goes to the artist and the independent label, which can only be a good thing. supporting an independent label, and even an independent record store, is surely gonna help new music keep coming and coming.

but i agree, if it means getting into a band whose albums you'll buy / gigs you'll go to in the future, i don't see too much harm. and i downloaded all of The Rescue by Explosions from here...

theInfinitePet said...

i agree wholeheartedly seen.

i think downloading is a positive thing for independent artists because they have fewer outlets to get their music to the public.

of course, it had to be mentioned: the obligatory arctic monkeys instance. the monkeys gathered all of their hype via the internet, their demos spread like wildfire and even ended up being hosted by domino records, which isn't even a large or dominating label like EMI or capital.

the result: the fastest selling debut in british music history. not bad for a virtually unknown band a few months prior to its album's release date.

Anonymous said...

Just dont forget
that even thOugh
music costs money (it Hurts)
Never give up

Can we still belive in the sounds
even though they Are tainted
by thoes Green bills
(we have an Eternal love for music)

<3 neal

Anonymous said...

that didnt come out how I typed it.... it was supposed to be a mesostic. Oh well.